Wildlife of the Mongolian Steppe

This magnificent region of semi-arid grasslands and rocky outcrops is one of the best hopes for wildlife in central Asia. Argali sheep, lesser kestrels, cinereous vultures, and other animals threatened throughout their range find a stronghold here. Herds of graceful Mongolian gazelles and goitered gazelles roam freely through the reserve. For the past several years, Earthwatch teams have worked to study and conserve the area's wildlife, including the "near-threatened" argali—the largest mountain sheep in the world with huge, curling horns.

Their efforts have been so successful that results from the work have been used to develop improved conservation management policies in the reserve, and the research team has expanded their studies to include several other species as well as work in another nature reserve, where some teams may spend a portion of the expedition. You can help Dr Rich Reading and an international team of scientists explore the lives of a broad range of wildlife in this semiarid refuge.

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What to Expect?

Your team will enjoy an extraordinary perspective of the desert-steppe environment in central Asia, as well as visits with local herders for a unique cultural experience. You will work with a well-trained research staff to observe the ecology and movements of a diversity of grassland animals. In addition to argali sheep, you will help explore the ecology of Siberian ibex, mountain goats with scimitar-shaped horns, and cinereous vultures, the largest raptors in Eurasia.

You will also study the lives of globally threatened lesser kestrels, two species of hedgehogs, and prey species, from lizards to steppe rat snakes (aka Dione rat snakes or Pallas's colubers), to leaping jerboas. (Volunteers who prefer not to work with the snakes will have plenty of other ways to keep busy on other aspects of the research.)

In your recreational time you will be free to explore this wilderness landscape in a way few people ever can, and you will also have the opportunity to experience Mongolian culture in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. This project requires a reasonably good fitness level due to its active nature and the remoteness of the location, and familiarity with hiking and camping.

  • Program ID: # 2046
  • duration:
    2 Weeks to 1 Month
  • location:
    Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia Ulaanbaatar
    Mongolia
    47° 50' 33.5688" N, 106° 55' 8.202" E
    MN
  • Fitness level:
    Moderately Fit
    Very Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    Ulaanbaatar (ULN)
  • Costs From:
    Over $3000
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs
  • Click Here for More Info

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